By Sydney Siegel, 2019 Counselor/Intern
I credit my love for the Jewish people and culture to my 9 summers at URJ camps. Since my first time at camp in 2010, my list of involvement with Jewish youth groups, camps, study abroad, travel, non-profit work, and leadership roles in college has been extensive and only continues to grow. I always knew I wanted to be a counselor to give back to future generations, but I didn’t think I would be able to because my career path as a future physical therapist requires a rigorous path of classes, internships, and pressure to have a competitive application. When the opportunity to work at 6 Points Sports Academy as a counselor and athletic training intern was offered to me, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to combine everything I was looking for in a summer experience. When I arrived on June 14, 2021, I had no idea how much I would learn and grow, both personally and professionally in 7 weeks at The 6.
6 Points is not a typical summer camp, we’re a sports academy, so counselors have unique roles. We are built-in role models, Jewish leaders, and assistant sports coaches all at once. During the day, we are assistant coaches at sport majors and electives where we interact with campers of all ages, and during meal times, rest time, and at night we reconnect with our mishpacha (the word for family in Hebrew, often called a unit or bunk at other camps) and reflect about our day. This blend of roles allowed me to build strong, meaningful connections with both my campers in my mishpacha and new and old faces every day during sports major and elective time.
As an Athletic Training Intern, I worked with the athletic trainers during sport major where I learned, observed, and assisted in various capacities. I helped build a bridge in the communication between campers, counselors, unit heads, and the medical team since my role as a counselor and staff member overlapped with my job as an intern. When we weren’t overwhelmed with treating athletes and getting them back on the field, I gained hands-on, 1 on 1 learning that would not be accessible to me anywhere else. Aly, Lauren, and Sarah who worked as our athletic trainers this summer taught me many valuable skills and techniques that have already benefited me in my coursework and will continue to serve as the foundation in my studies. My job as an AT intern confirmed my passion for sports medicine and motivated me to continue on my path with the newfound confidence I was searching for now that I have some real-life experience in the field.
This summer I had the privilege of simultaneously being a counselor for the Netanya mishpacha (rising 9th-grade girls). I can confidently say I learned all of the words to Driver’s License by Olivia Rodrigo, but more importantly that I contributed to changing the lives of young women in a positive way. When I saw my campers including each other in the dorm, dancing and singing their hearts out at song sessions, lifting each other up (both physically and emotionally) when they needed it, it made me so proud. From day 1 to day 12 of the session I watched each of them learn new skills, improve in sports, make new friends, be vulnerable, and be sad to say goodbye when the session was over. I watched the camp community and values help shape each of my campers into even stronger young women. There’s no greater privilege than having the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young people.
Working on staff at 6 Points this past summer meant being surrounded by some of the greatest team players, athletes, and role models I know. We had long-time 6 Points campers, retired Israeli professional athletes, and passionate college students on staff. We worked long hours, wore many hats, and had fun at the same time. The staff cohort for 2021 was the most talented and motivated group of people I’ve met. At the end of every day, we accomplished something truly special: each of us made a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of Jewish athletes.
6 Points is special for many reasons, but one of them is the tight-knit community feeling shared among campers and staff alike. Each of us is there for the same reason: we’re Jewish athletes who love being surrounded by other Jewish athletes. But it’s even more than that. Friends become family and coaches become parent-figures. What is so amazing about the 6 Points community is it supports and encourages growth, development, and positive change. Even during Maccabiah, a 1-day camp-wide color war battle, there’s still so much support and sportsmanship to be found. When we perform in front of the entire community during Camp Champs on the 1st Saturday night of each session, even though the competition is fierce and taken very seriously, the cheers from the theater echo loudly. I haven’t found this constant support and encouragement anywhere else. There’s an indescribable magic in the air at 6 Points that provide an outlet for everyone involved to be the best version of themselves while having a great time doing it.
Working at 6 Points Sports Academy was the perfect combination of everything I was hoping to gain out of an internship, while also giving me the opportunity to change the lives of my campers, and make friends from all over the world. When I think back on my summer, I can say with 110% confidence I would do it all over again. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to work at The 6 with the incredible staff members who inspired me every day to continue doing what we do best: Jewish, sports, camp, all three, and all of the time. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 POINTS!